Acana vs Orijen: What’s the Difference & Which is Best for your Dog?

In the long list of dog food brands on the market, there are two that stand out among the rest. Acana and Orijen are high-quality premium dog food brands with solid reputations among pet owners. They're often the go-to for pet parents looking for the very best in nutrition.

Not only are the two brands filled with beneficial ingredients, but they're both modeled after your pup's canine ancestor. The idea of being "biologically appropriate" is a central theme of how both of these companies approach dog nutrition.

With all of the similarities these brands have, it begs the questions, "Which one is better?" 

Acana-vs-Orijen-dog-food

If you're trying to decide between Acana or Orijen for your furry friend, you need to understand what each option brings to the table.

Acana vs Orijen Dog Food

Before we get into what makes these two dog food brands, let's dive a bit deeper into what they share. If you're at all familiar with the dog food market, you might have noticed that both Acana and Orijen share strikingly similar packaging and marketing campaigns. There's a good reason for this.

Both are owned by the same parent company, Champion Petfoods. Not only are the brands under one company, but many of the products are manufactured in the same facility.

Champion Petfoods produce most of their North American dog foods in the DogStar Kitchen in Kentucky. Though, some are also made in Alberta, Canada.

Champion Petfoods is quite transparent about how ingredients are sourced. It's one of the reasons why dog owners love the two brands so much. One great thing about Orijen and Acana is that none of the ingredients are outsourced.

Instead, they are provided by local suppliers. This helps to maintain a high level of quality and keep the formula consistent.

To compare these two premium brands, we're going to take a look at the quality of their ingredients and formulas.

Meat Ingredients

Meat is the most important ingredient your dog needs to thrive. While you might have to second-guess cheaper brands, the quality of meat has never been an issue with Acana or Orijen.

Both brands offer higher quantities of meat than most competitors. Furthermore, the two dog foods also incorporate many whole animals, organs and all. With that said, there are some key differences between Acana and Orijen when it comes to the meat content.

Orijen foods are made up of about 75 to 80 percent meat. This includes traditional meat sources, such as beef, chicken, and bison, as well as fish. The exact figure depends on the particular formula. Of that 75 to 80 percent, roughly half.

Acana's meat content is a bit lower. Acana foods are between 40 and 65 percent meat and fish. Approximately 9 to 30 percent is fresh meat. While it is a bit lower than Orijen, Acana's meat content is nothing to be disappointed in. It's still significantly higher than other brands.

Another difference between Acana and Orijen is the variety of meats they use. Most Orijen formulas contain about 10 different meat sources while Acana only has 5. The higher variation in Orijen is designed to provide a wider range of amino acids.

Protein Content

It's important to remember that protein content and meat content are two different things. Many dog owners focus on protein percentage, as it reflects the formula as a whole. Both brands offer impressive amounts of protein.

  • Orijen is higher, offering between 38 and 42 percent guaranteed protein analysis.
  • Acana foods hover around 25 and 35 percent.

Fats

Fat is a crucial part of the canine diet. it provides concentrated energy to keep your pup healthy. There is virtually no difference between the fat content between Acana and Orijen.

All of the food products across the two brand lineups average out to about 38 percent when you're looking at the calorie breakdown.

The great thing about Champion Petfoods is that they gather the fat from the same meat sources. The manufacturers don't add artificial fats like some other brands out there. This keeps things healthy and balanced.

Acana and Orijen also do a nice job of incorporating omega fatty acids into the mix. Omega fatty acids are good for circulation, heart health, and skin condition. Because the brands utilize fish meat, omega fatty acids are just a natural part of the equation.

Orijen does have a slightly higher average when it comes to omega fatty acid content, but that's just due to the higher meat and fish variety.

Both brands offer information about the fatty acids in their guaranteed nutrient analysis, which is a nice touch considering that it's not required.

Carbohydrates

Orijen and Acana pay close attention to the quality of the carbohydrates as well. The brands steer clear of corn, wheat, or soy. They utilize complex carbs that are absorbed into the body slowly. This provides an ongoing supply of energy while also reducing your dog's chance of encountering blood sugar issues.

Champion Petfoods predominantly uses legumes for the two brands. Things like peas, lentils, and chickpeas are common across the lines. The companies are so stringent about the quality of the food that they don't even use legume byproducts like pea protein, which is admirable.

The difference between Acana and Orijen for carbohydrate content is minimal. 

  • Acana foods usually have between 25 and 30 percent.
  • Meanwhile, Orijen doesn't go over 25 percent.

Acana vs Orijen: Price

While we'd all love to buy the very best food for our pups without thinking about money, it's an important factor to consider. This is where Acana and Orijen to separate a bit. As you saw with the nutrient analysis, Orijen offers a superior product over Acana.

Orijen foods have more meat, higher protein content, and more variation. That increase in quality is reflected in the price. The cost of dog food fluctuates quite a bit and will change based on where you buy it. However, the average MSRP remains the same. 

  • A standard 25-pound bag of Orijen's Regional Red formula will cost you an eye-watering $115.00, on average.
  • For Acana's Appalachian Ranch formula, which is a comparable recipe that focuses on red meat, a 25-pound bag costs about $88.00.

Both brands have pretty high price points when compared to other options on the market. However, the price reflects the quality of the food your dog will consume.


Available Product Lines

Orijen and Acana both have distinct product lines available for dogs. The primary focus for both is dry dog food. Though, other options are available as well.

Orijen Lineup

Orijen keeps things pretty simple in terms of product offerings. There are a total of eight formulas. Four of them are designed for all dogs and only vary based on flavor and ingredients. These include the Original, Six Fish, Tundra, and Regional Red formulas.

The remaining foods are designed to meet specific needs. 

There's the Puppy formula, which is meant to serve all puppies regardless of breed, and the Large Puppy formula for bigger dogs. Orijen also has a Fit & Trim formula for weight management and a Senior option for older dogs.

Beyond the dry kibble, Orijen has raw freeze-dried dog food. 

Ideal for finicky eaters, these foods are made up of 90 percent animal ingredients. The products can be kept in dry storage and rehydrated later to create a meal that's similar to canned food. Currently, there are three freeze-dried formulas. They include Original, Tundra, and Regional Red.

Lastly, there are freeze-dried treats. 

These treats are a high-protein reward that's made up entirely of animal meats. The meats aren't combined with anything else. They're just freeze-dried, packaged, and sold as-is.

Nine different treat flavors are available. You can get your dog Original, Six Fish, Regional Red, Tundra, Beef, Lamb, Duck, Boar, and Bison.


Acana Lineup

Acana has much more to offer in terms of product variety. There are three distinct kibble product lines. The first is called Heritage.

The Heritage dry foods are considered to be Acana's primary line. Each formula is biologically appropriate and made with locally sourced ingredients. Within the Heritage line, Acana offers a basic Adult Dog, Adult Small Breed, and Adult Large Breed recipe. 

Arcana Heritage line up
Three recipes are available for puppies, too.
They include Puppy Small Breed, Puppy & Junior, and Puppy Large Breed.


Finally, there's the Light & Fit recipe for weight management and the dedicated Senior formula. Recently, Acana also launched the Sport & Agility flavor for active pups.


The Acana Regionals line is the second dry kibble option. 

This particular product line is filled with unique recipes that are inspired by ingredients you can find in Kentucky, where the food is made. As always, each formula is biologically appropriate to keep your pup healthy.

The formula choices include Kentucky Farmlands, American Waters, Meadowland, Wild Atlantic, Grasslands, and Appalachian Ranch.

  • Kentucky Farmlands
  • American Waters
  • Meadowland
  • Wild Atlantic
  • Grasslands
  • Appalachian Ranch
The final dry dog food range from Acana is the Singles line. 

These foods are specifically made for dogs who suffer from allergies. They have limited ingredients and a single protein source, allowing you to have full control over what your dog is eating.

The line is made up of the Duck & Pumpkin, Lamb & Pumpkin, Turkey & Greens, Duck & Pear, Pork & Squash, Lamb & Apple, and Beef & Pumpkin recipes.

  • Duck & Pumpkin
  • Lamb & Pumpkin
  • Turkey & Greens
  • Duck & Pear
  • Pork & Squash
  • Lamb & Apple
  • Beef & Pumpkin
To accompany the Singles dry dog food line, Acana also has a small selection of dry treats. 

The treats have limited ingredients and don't use any synthetic preservatives. There are 5 flavors currently in the line. They are Duck & Pear, Pork & Squash, Lamb & Apple, Beef & Pumpkin, and Turkey & Greens.

Acana or Orijen: Which Brand is the Winner?

If you're going by nutrient analysis and quality alone, Orijen is clearly the better choice. Champion Petfoods positioned Orijen to be their ultra-premium offering out the two.

With that said, Acana is still an excellent choice. Both brands offer great quality and foods with high protein content. Acana's specs are slightly lower, but that can prove to be beneficial for some dogs. All dogs are different. Not every pup is going to thrive on Orijen. The key is to match the food to your dog's needs. Give them both a try a see which one your dog does best with

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